Amsterdam’s Alpin Haus suing makers of Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo


FILE – Alpin Haus master technician Jason Whiteman works on a Ski-Doo snowmobile at the dealership in Amsterdam in December 2020.

FONDA — Alpin Haus has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo personal watercrafts alleging the manufacturer is trying to “coerce” the retailer into using an expensive software system by threatening to otherwise end its dealer agreement.

Alpin Haus Ski Shop Inc. of Amsterdam, represented by Brian Culnan of O’Connell and Aronowitz law firm, on Thursday filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Montgomery County against BRP Inc.

The lawsuit is requesting the court halt BRP’s termination of its dealer agreement with Alpin Haus enabling the retailer to continue carrying the company’s products until the matter is settled. The existing agreement was set to expire on Wednesday.

Alpin Haus has sold BRP’s Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo vehicles, parts and accessories for over 50 years. The outdoor recreational retailer with six locations in the Northeast sold over $2.1 million in products made by BRP last year.

“The threatened termination of a manufacturer’s delivery of a unique product to a dealer constitutes irreparable harm to the good will and economic interests of the dealer,” the lawsuit states.

A BRP spokesperson declined to comment on the pending lawsuit on Monday.

For around 10 years, Alpin Haus has used Motility Software Solutions’ dealer management software to track sales and inventory, maintain customer records and report transactions. The software satisfied BRP’s requirements for dealers until last year.

The suit alleges BRP “unilaterally” revised operational standards for dealers in February to require the use of certified Dealer Connect Program software. Alpin Haus worked with BRP to have its existing system recognized as meeting the updated standards, but the manufacturer refused.

BRP notified Alpin Haus late last year that it would terminate or decline to renew its sales agreement with the retailer unless it began using a dealer management software system specifically approved by the manufacturer.

It would cost Alpin Haus over $250,000 to implement the software that the company claims would not provide it any benefits or otherwise “enhance customer safety, loyalty or satisfaction,” according to the lawsuit.

The retailer, through its attorneys, on Jan. 3 notified BRP of its objections to the manufacturer “unreasonably demanding that Alpin Haus undergo expensive and otherwise unnecessary changes to its business operations.”

The correspondence demanded a written response from BRP of its intent to renew the dealer agreement with Alpin Haus and acknowledgment that the retailer would not be required to use software “of less utility to Alpin Haus.” The lawsuit was filed after BRP failed to comply.

Alpin Haus alleges in the lawsuit that BRP’s actions violate the state Franchised Motor Vehicle Dealer Act by attempting to force the company to take actions that are harmful to the business and its financial interests and conditioning renewal of the dealer agreement on the substantial purchase of new software.

Furthermore, the suit contends the manufacturer has run afoul of the state law by imposing unreasonable restrictions for renewal based on subjective standards, using unreasonable or arbitrary performance standards for determining compliance with the dealer agreement and attempting to end its sales agreement without due cause.

Alpin Haus is seeking unspecified damages with any allowed interest, attorneys fees and any further relief awarded by the court.

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

By Ashley Onyon

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